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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    A Look Back.

16 Months.

Dear Cullen,

I know I say it every month, but this month you really do seem to have become your own little person.  You know exactly what you want, and you do your best to tell us over and over again, even though sometimes we can’t quite figure it out. 

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When we are inside, you are practically climbing the walls, and this week you taught yourself to climb onto the couch.  But you are happiest when we are outside, and playgrounds are your new obsession.  Long gone are the days of just gliding back in forth in the baby swing.  These days it’s all about the slide!

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You have been working up the courage to go through this green tunnel all month long, and I fought a few tears when I watched you finally put both feet inside earlier this week.  Of course, once you went through once, you wanted to do it over and over again for hours.  The sun was setting and our noses were red by the time we left the playground!

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Although sometimes you will still humor your mom and take a ride on the swings.  It is most fun when mom gives a high five when you swing close!

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Your long hair was getting pretty unruly again this week, so we took you for another trim (your third!) a few days ago.  Hard to believe it was just a month ago that you had your haircut, and already it had grown way over your ears and down over your collar. 

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You look like such a big boy with your new clean cut, but in just a matter of days it seems like it’s growing out again already, and the back is still filled with gorgeous curls.  You are lucky you got your dad’s fabulous hair!  Mom is very jealous. 

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You are getting two more molars right now, which means you are being a very picky eater.  Yesterday you pretty much existed on muffins.  They were healthy muffins, but still – we can do better.  Right now you love blueberries, grapes, hummus, almond butter, noodles, and your absolute favorite – broccoli.  We are counting down the days until summer berries return!

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Your personality shines a little brighter each and every day.  You hung out in the childcare area while I went to a Barre3 class this morning, and when I came out you were drenched in sweat from playing so hard.  The girls you were playing with said they couldn’t stop laughing at your crazy facial expressions and your wild babbling.

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While we’ve had a lot of laughs and smiles this month, we’ve also had some growing pains.  You are asserting yourself more and more – often in the form of throwing things and hitting when you don’t get your way.

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You will have incredible tantrums and throw your body to the ground, and then be up and smiling again 30 seconds later.  I don’t feel quite ready for this phase just yet, but it seems to be here anyway.  Sometimes I look at you and can’t believe how big you’ve gotten, and then I see the elementary school kids arrive to the playground, I and realize you are still so small. 

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You love to say no and shake your head from side to side, and you are a lot more stingy with hugs and kisses these days.  But you still give one big wet sloppy one right before bedtime, and it makes up for even the toughest days. 

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Even though you act like a tough guy, you are still so sensitive and sweet.  While you were swinging at the playground the other day, the little girl next to you fell down and cried.  You looked so worried and upset seeing her tears!  I had to reassure you that she would be okay.

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You’re still fiercely independent, and will happily entertain yourself when you’re in the right mood.  But most of the time, you’re looking for more interactive play now.  You like when we build towers (and then knock them down, of course), play peekaboo, read piles and piles of books, and you can’t resist a good tickle fight.

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We moved your play tent into your sunroom a few weeks ago, and you’ve had so much fun playing and hiding in there.  You love to burst out and do peekaboo, and sometimes you invite me inside to read a pile of books.  It feels like I’ve been invited into your secret clubhouse

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Your love for the pups grows every single day, and no one can make you laugh harder than they do.  You are a rough and rugged little guy, and I have to give a lot of reminders to be gentle and playful.  We have to separate you guys during snack time though, because you are too generous and love to share what you’re eating

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You hate the stroller so much now that it’s hard to even get to the playground and back – just a short half-mile away.  I am always armed with drinks and snacks, but it doesn’t seem to matter.  You want to walk everywhere, and you’re not content to ride or be carried.  Who can blame you?  Mom is pretty sure she won’t be running again until you are in preschool.

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We head out pretty much every afternoon to do some sort of play or learning – whether it’s Gymboree class, a play date with friends, or one of Seattle’s indoor play centers.  Your favorite thing at Gymboree is the parachute, and you run into the middle every time it goes UP!

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Whether you know it or not, I still go into your room every night before I go to sleep.  I put my hand on your cheek and feel your soft, cool skin.  I listen to your peaceful breath and watch your belly rise and fall.  Your dad has to come get me almost every night, because I end up staying in there so long.  Even though we’ve been in this together now for sixteen months, I still find myself in awe of how much I love you.  

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Thanks for another great month!

For more parenting posts, check out the parenting page.  You can also read the latest on Babble’s Toddler Times blog:

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69 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Jennifer (The Gourmetour)     at 4:17 pm

Gosh, he’s gotten SO big!!! I can’t believe how fast time flies! Thank you so much for sharing Cullen’s life and growth with us! Love seeing this little one blossom into the joyful toddler that he seems to be!


Lee     at 4:17 pm

He looks like such a little boy and not a baby!


Catherine     at 4:20 pm

Ok. That’s it. I want a baby NOW.

Sigh. He is so, so cute.


Carly @ Snack Therapy     at 4:39 pm

He is so expressive! How incredible. I love that you write these posts each month. It’s such a cool thing to be able to look back on.


Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries     at 4:41 pm

What a handsome little man you have! I can’t believe how BIG he’s getting!


Emily @ Life on Food     at 4:45 pm

His clothes are so cute. He looks like such a little person.


Mary Louise     at 4:52 pm

Emily, what a beautiful post! I find it so incredibly heartwarming to hear your words of love and admiration for your adorable son. Thanks so much for sharing.


Christine     at 4:52 pm

That was so well written it almost made me cry.
Thank you for another peek in to the life of your family…
It’s weird in my own life to think how fast time goes by when I remember reading all your pregnancy posts!


natalie @ will jog for food     at 4:54 pm

I can’t believe he is 16 months old already! He is so stinking cute!


anne     at 4:56 pm

so sweet!


Megan S @ gourmet or go home     at 5:07 pm

Aw Emily. I always love these posts but found this one particularly touching. You are very lucky to have such a sweet guy and he is so very lucky to have you.


Emily     at 5:07 pm

Such a beautiful post! And an adorable and handsome little man. :)


katecooks     at 5:09 pm

this is just the sweetest post! i love to hear stories from my mom of when i was little, and i can only imagine how much he’ll love to read these posts one day.


Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed     at 5:23 pm

What an amazing post! And he makes the BEST faces. I love his “I hate the stroller” face :) Thanks for sharing and this will be amazing for him to read one day!


Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run     at 5:26 pm

You capture the best shots of Cullen!! These posts will be so fun for him (and you) to read when he’s older.


Kaitlyn @ Keeping up with Kaitlyn     at 5:31 pm

He is adorable!!


chelsey     at 5:39 pm

I stumbled across your pregnancy posts almost a year ago when I thought I was pregant. Well now I am and I love going back to your week by week and seeing how you felt and experiences you went through! And seeing how much fun you have with Cullen and the love you have for him, makes me very excited to start this journey with my baby. Love your blog, Emily!


Katie @ Pop Culture Cuisine     at 5:51 pm

He is simply so adorable…it is so hard to believe how fast the time goes. I look at our 17 m.o. and I almost can’t believe we have a toddler now. You capture the best expressions on him, I starting to tear up when I saw the look of concern on his face.


Tricia     at 5:56 pm

Probably one of the sweetest things I have ever read. He is so lucky that one day he will be able to look back and see how well he was loved. And he is just so gosh darn adorable. Thank you for sharing!


Alyssa     at 6:07 pm

I love this post! Tears by the end!


Kristi     at 6:27 pm

Got tears in my eyes reading this one! I don’t remember you specifically directing the updates to Cullen before. It was very sweet to read your words to him and I admire your acknowledgement that he is in a tough phase. I’ve had some frustrating days with my 11 week old lately and it’s easy to get frustrated – first at him and then at myself for losing patience. Hang in there and know that you’re doing a great job!!


Lara     at 6:28 pm

Such a happy little man! The photo of him concerned about the little girl is so sweet!

I would love to hear more about Seattle’s indoor play areas sometime.


Amber K     at 6:37 pm

He could not possibly get any cuter, could he? Oh he totally does each time I think it’s not possible. (Can you tell my baby fever is running at an all-time high?) Even though he’s not actually a baby anymore. They grow up so quickly!


Janet     at 6:38 pm

Hi Emily. What camera and settings do you use to take photos of Cullen? I’m due in 2 weeks and keen to get as many awesome photos of the baby once he arrives.


Heather (Heather's Dish)     at 6:40 pm

I don’t think I could be crying any harder! I can’t believe how fast they grow up – Cullen is such a cutie pie, and it’s crazy for me to remember how teeny he once was. I look at Wes and I’m just amazed!


Pam     at 6:53 pm

Such a great post, Emily! I’ve got a 14 month old little girl and can relate to the tantrums and her becoming more independent! I too go into her room every night before bed. So glad to hear I’m not the only one doing this because sometimes I think I’m crazy for doing it! It’s so true when people say you never realize how much love you can have for a person until you become a mom!


Babs     at 7:09 pm

Cullen is incredibly lucky to have such a caring mother. That was a very touching post.


Lisa     at 7:32 pm

I loved this post. All of the pictures are adorable, as usual. I love how reflective you are and your love for him is nearly tangible through your words. You are a great mom and it reflects through your awesome little guy!


Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}     at 7:50 pm

I’m not sure if it’s possible, but he gets cuter every month!


Avery @ YoungAspirations     at 8:45 pm

You might be sick of hearing this (or maybe not!) but I’m pretty sure he is the cutest kid, ever. I can definitely see his personality come through, even in pictures! :)


Elisabeth     at 9:22 pm

Wow! He looks like such a big boy with the new haircut. :)


Alex @ Raw Recovery     at 9:52 pm

This is so beautiful, Emily. Admittedly I got a little teary eyed because it’s so clear what a good mom you are and how much you love him. I think it will be so amazing for Cullen to read this when he gets older and I think that’s really special.


Jess     at 1:07 am

Lovely post! One of the families I nannied for kept daily journals for their kids in this style – Noting nap times, bottle feedings/meals day to day but with about a page long note to their child about their day. So sweet to think of baby Camille (or Cullen!) going back to read these love notes one day…

Love the monthly updates!


Christine     at 3:19 am

Tears. That was the sweetest post ever.


Courtney@Translating Nutrition     at 4:35 am

What a gift it will be to Cullen to be able to read these updates when he gets older! I would love to know this level of detail about how I was when I was his age.


Lisa     at 4:47 am

You are so great with the camera! Maybe your adorable props help alittle bit, but how did you learn how to take such great photos?

I just purchased the Canon Rebel, and been reading up on ISO, aperture, and shutter speeds. But i dont feel comfortable altering them according to my scenery.


Carolyn@SmallThingsTrilogy     at 5:19 am

This is too, too sweet. It almost put me in tears reading this. Babies grows up too fast! I love all the pictures of Cullen smiling and laughing :)


Susannah     at 5:24 am

Emily, had to say that as I read these updates on Cullen, he reminds me so much of my 3.5 year old Finn. Finn was also an early walker and once he was mobile, getting him to sit in the stroller was next to impossible. I remember in another update you writing that Cullen wasn’t big on sitting and cuddling….I used to watch other babies/toddlers and completely not understand how STILL they could be! Finn was never still starting at about 4 months:) He is a boy who needs to be RUN to this day. It is tougher to do now that I have a second boy (who is much more cuddly). But always fun. I always enjoy your blog and your writing. All the best.


Sara     at 5:42 am

These photos are so adorable! :-) I love his new big boy haircut and the photo of him in his jeans and the gray hoodie are just too much! He looks like a little preschooler! So cute!


Amanda     at 5:54 am

I’ve been reading your blog for over a year and love all your Cullen updates! This one got me teary eyed. The love you can feel for your child is indescribable. I have a 6 month old (Noah) and feel the same way. Just in awe everyday (even those really tough days). I relay things I read to my husband and I always describe your blog as ” Ya know, the one I read where I feel like we are friends and just alike”? HAHA :) I just recently started writing a blog and have to confess I stole your “day in the life of” posts. :)


Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy     at 6:31 am

This post is so sweet. He’s starting to look like such a little man! He’s so cute!


Katie     at 6:31 am

That was one of the sweetest posts I have ever read! It definitely made me teary eyed, and I’m not even a mom.


Emily     at 6:36 am

He is such a beautiful baby – and seems like one big ball of fun.

My favorite picture is the one where he is reacting to the girl falling – such a complex look of emotion on his face.


Lauren @ Eat Like An Elephant     at 7:00 am

Oh, what a sweet post! Cullen is adorable, and looks so much like Casey!


Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie     at 7:06 am

You have one incredible little boy there! Happy 16 months Cullen!


Heather     at 8:23 am

This was so sweet :-)


Shannan     at 8:32 am

I looove all of the pictures of him! His different expressions are all so cute. Onward to another month! :)


Kate     at 8:32 am

Hi Emily! I found your website while looking for vegetarian recipes a few months ago – and I have been enjoying your blog ever since! You have such a relatable way of writing that I feel like I sort of know you in an odd way…haha! You’re defintely a source of inspiration to me – I admire the courage it must have taken to pursue your love of food. And, Cullen has to be one of the cutest kids ever! His expressive face is beyond adorable. :)


Keri     at 8:57 am

This was a beautiful post.
Thank you for sharing him with us :)


Amy     at 10:48 am

What a nice post and your last paragraph had me in tears. My son is just over 2 and I still do that every night. Cullen is such a handsome little boy!


Andrea     at 10:51 am

Love! And I don’t believe for one second that this cutie is anything but a perfect angel. :)

BTW, neither one of my boys liked the stroller and I envied parents who could keep their kids in one for longer than a few months. There is something about boys and their independence!


Kelly     at 11:03 am

Love the post as the perspective of writing a letter to Cullen. I teared up, you are so good at expressing your feelings.

It’s funny that it is such an age write now to always have a camera (whether a rebel or a smartphone) that years from now, we’ll have so much more pics shot than we did when I was little.


colleen     at 11:39 am

simply beautiful! tears are flowing. a beautiful reminder of living every day and enjoying all moments – good and bad. Cullen has an amazing mommy.


Theresa     at 11:39 am

This is such a sweet post. I love your outlook on motherhood and parenting, it makes me excited for my own family one day. Thankfully, for now, my sister is about to have her first baby! I can’t wait to be an auntie.


Michelle@Peachy Palate     at 12:04 pm

Gorgeous post! When he’s older he is going to love these! Seriously one of the cutest kids ever!


Katie     at 12:23 pm

The photos you capture of your boy are incredible! He looks like such a happy little dude :) Makes me so excited for my 9 month old to hit his age!


Jen     at 12:35 pm



Rachel wardell     at 1:56 pm

Oh you should be so proud! He’s amazing and you’re a wonderful mummy! My boy is 14 months, it’s a fantastic age isn’t it? X


Julie     at 2:17 pm

Love this post! And your pics are GREAT! It’s kind of hard to take a bad pic when the subject matter is so adorable, tho!


Ashley Pfeffer     at 3:25 pm

I love the idea of writing your monthly update to Cullen. Hope he will like looking back on these posts. I know you (and Casey) will be glad you kept a little online journal. :)


Jacquelynn     at 7:07 pm

Oh I love your posts! This one made me tear up… I am 18 weeks pregnant and we found out we are having a boy! Thank you for your wonderful posts!

I love going back and reading your weekly pregnancy updates… My little guy is the size of a bell pepper this week :)


Kristen's Mom     at 7:35 pm

You always get the best pictures of him! And how fun to photograph such a beautiful little boy! He’s just so darn cute!


Megan     at 8:45 pm

This post brought me to tears. Absolutely so sweet :) Your baby boy so one lucky kid!!


joelle (on a pink typewriter)     at 3:52 pm

I’m not a mom, or heck, even married, but this was just so darn sweet I had to comment. Beautifully written.


katie     at 6:40 am

Holy pregnancy hormones…I’m crying. Does Casey’s hair grow super fast too? Kirt’s grows at an insane rate. Those Malone men and their beautiful, full heads of hair.


Patty     at 7:52 am

Beautiful, beautiful post. I have tears in my eyes.


Christina     at 9:34 am

I adore that sweet little face! His personality shines through these pictures.

On a side note, I have been getting this message when I try to click on the link to come to your site:

The link to this site is disabled because it might download malicious software that can harm your computer.

I have to come in through your recipe page. Wanted to give you a head’s up!


Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » A Day In The Life: 16 Months.     at 3:20 pm

[...] Our days are all a little different, so I decided to just take one day (yesterday) and snap pictures from start to finish.  Here’s a look at what we’re up to now that Cullen is 16 months old! [...]

Rucky     at 5:59 am

I have B/G twins that just turned 16mo and went back and re-read this :-) This is TOTALLY my son at this age!!


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